PPG Newsletter




Christmas Scene

December 2023

Chair’s message

I am Linda Grant, the chair of the Priory Gardens Surgery Patient Participation Group (PPG).

The PPG is a group of the practice's patients that works with staff at the surgery and interacts with other patientsto help give feedback on services between staff and patients. Group members are all volunteers.

The PPG is committed to working with our Surgery to give the best possible care to our patients. We have previously assisted with the Flu clinic and we hope to visit other clinics in the surgery to meet with our patients.

If you have any ideas how we can help patients or the surgery please do not hesitate to contact us as we are always looking to improve. It is your PPG.

We hope to deliver these Newsletters 3 to 4 times a year.

Season's Greetings!


Our move to the Hub

Our new surgery was made available to us in April 2023 and it was great to see it for real rather than through the architects visual fly through that we had seen previously.

Whilst it has taken some adjustments from both patients and clinicians to adapt to a new environment the benefits are numerous. There have been of course some initial teething problems, but now 8 months in we are settled in well.

We now have a purpose built modern building with up to date efficient ventilation and air conditioning to provide a comfortable environment for all users.

consult room

There is now much more space for staff to work in and to see patients. The number of available clinical rooms has increased from 12 to 22.

In addition, free short term parking is now available for all patients. We are now located in a Hub that gives us much easier connection and access to 13 other health related services within the same building, which is a benefit for our patients.


Accessing surgery services

The Telephone, eConsult and Reception Desk systems are provided to enable you to communicate with the surgery effectively, in a fair and orderly way.

In this fast changing world, exactly how these systems work are continually being refined.

The fact that they change is a sign that the surgery is attentive to changing needs and capabilities.

When using the systems, patients should take note of the guidance given at the point of use as this may have changed since they were last used.

Generally, the services are only operational during the open hours of the surgery. An exception would be the voicemail capability of the phone in option that lets you cancel an appointment at any time.

The principle is that all contact is potentially urgent until the situation has been determined to be otherwise. Outside of normal surgery hours therefore, patients are referred to 111 which is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Earlier this year the telephone call centre was outsourced as an urgent response to a massive increase in demand. This hasn’t worked as well as expected and so the service is being brought back in house.  Callers will notice a gradual transition as changes are made which are all due to complete at the beginning of January 2024.


Pharmacy first

This scheme is being extended from December 2023, so that pharmacists will be able to prescribe a greater range of medicines, such as antibiotics and contraception.

This should further reduce the pressure on surgeries regarding the demand for appointments.

While you are encouraged to use the same pharmacist each time, you can use any other in the scheme.

Normally to see a doctor you would go to the surgery where you are registered. There are times when you would see a doctor from another surgery, when directed by 111 for example.


Coffee Morning

On 7th December the Chiltern Hills PCN held a coffee morning at the Grove Hub.

The idea for the event was inspired by the Priory Gardens Surgery PPG Chair Linda Grant and the Surgery Manager Louise Cole, and is hoped to become a regular event in our calendar.

Although the event was our first in the new Hub, fortunately the organisers and presenters had much experience, so the lessons learned were mainly to do with the protocols and logistics of the new shared building space, such as arranging for parking and room layout.

The following organisations were represented:

ELFT Beds Talking Therapies

  • Serving patients with mental health problems.

Carers in Bedfordshire

  • Supporting unpaid carers.


  • Making equipment to help people with disabilities.


  • Supporting Armed Forces people and veterans.


  • Citizens Advice helping people manage their lives.

ELFT Recovery College

  • Courses and workshops aiding wellbeing and recovery.

Dunstable Good Neighbours

  • Volunteers provide direct help to those in need.

Houghton Regis Helpers

  • Helping the residents of Houghton Regis.

Several hundred people attended the event despite our initial concerns from a slow start. The balance between space available the numbers of stalls and visitors attending turned out to be just right.

The enthusiasm and knowledge of the people on the stands made the event very worthwhile and enjoyable. They are true champions, and if you missed this event be sure to catch up at future ones.

image from the coffee morning

image from the coffee morning

image from the coffee morning

image from the coffee morning

image from the coffee morning

image from the coffee morning

image from the coffee morning

image from the coffee morning



The new, simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet.


Image of the NHS App


Did you know?

You can order prescriptions, appointments, messages and view your records online by logging into your account.

Appointment services are not available online at this time.

The econsult service is only available during normal surgery open hours.

If you haven’t set one up, please contact the surgery for log in details.


hub entrance

How to find us

Priory Gardens Surgery is at the Grove View Integrated Health Hub. Court Drive, Dunstable LU5 4JD.

We are on the first floor. As you enter the building main entrance and just after the 2 sets of double doors is the building reception desk, where there are several machines where you can  obtain a free parking ticket to display in your car.

Proceed in the same direction until you come to a set of doors on your right leading to a stairwell and lift lobby.

Take the stairs or a lift to the first floor.


What is a PCN?

Primary care network

PCNs are led by clinical directors who may be a GP, general practice nurse, clinical pharmacist or other clinical profession working in general practice.

Each of the 1,250 PCNs across England are based on GP registered patient lists, typically serving natural communities of between 30,000 to 50,000 people (with some flexibility).

They are small enough to provide the personal care valued by both people and GPs, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between GP practices and others in the local health and social care system.

Our surgery is part of the Chiltern Hills PCN. Other surgeries in our PCN are Caddington, Eastgate, Kingsbury Court, Kirby Road and West Street.


What is an ICB?

An Integrated Care Board being one of 42 in England is responsible for planning the delivery of NHS services in its region to achieve the aims of the strategy to improve the health of the population, including  deciding how resources are allocated.

Our ICB is NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.


About the Patient Participation Group

Current Members

News & Events

More about the PPG

Published: Dec 27, 2023